ANN ARBOR - If you’re a foodie in Ann Arbor, you’re familiar with AnnArbor_Eats. Jordy Richman and Danielle Boilen, the masterminds behind this indulgent Instagram, are two foodies with big appetites and a passion for taking photos of their meals.
Originally started by Jordy’s cousin in 2013, Richman and Boilen took over the account in 2017 turning it into a foodie powerhouse by regularly posting delectable photos from Ann Arbor eateries.
Both of the culinary curators are currently out of town so we chatted with them via email.
What got you interested in starting a food Instagram?
AnnArbor_Eats: "We are both HUGE foodies! We were always the two people at the meal who made our friends wait to eat their food before eating it so we could snap photos of it! Our one problem was that we didn’t have a place to post all of our photos outside of our personal Snapchat and Instagram stories!"
You have other cities on your Instagram but seem to feature Ann Arbor the most. In your opinion, what sets the food scene here apart from other cities?
AnnArbor_Eats: "On our account, we post photos from New York, Chicago, LA, but mostly Michigan. We like to post from other cities because many of our followers are students at the University of Michigan, so we like them to see photos from restaurants in their hometowns as well. As people who have explored most of the restaurants in Ann Arbor, we truly believe Ann Arbor offers any kind of cuisine you could think of. All of the restaurant owners/chefs we have met so far through AnnArbor_Eats have been so welcoming, passionate about their restaurants, and excited for us to share their food with the Ann Arbor community."
"We enjoy the food in Ann Arbor because the customers are very diverse, ranging from students, prospective students, professors, tourists, local residents and more! We believe the food scene here is interesting because there are always new spots opening up in all different areas of the city and we love being the ones to announce these openings to students and other followers."
"The restaurants in Ann Arbor, ranging from a late-night pizza place serving cheesy bread at all hours to a nice steakhouse, continue to amaze us with their new dishes and exciting atmospheres."
You have a large audience that is encouraged to submit photos using AnnArbor_Eats. How do you decide on which pictures to post?
AnnArbor_Eats: "We like to look through all of the photos we are tagged in on a daily basis to make sure every picture we are tagged in is seen. Although our submissions are all unique and delicious-looking, we use the bookmark feature on Instagram to save all of the photos that we may potentially post so that if we do not use them that day, we can use them in the future. The photos we tend to post are from restaurants that we have had positive experiences with or have heard great things (about). Additionally, we choose photos that are clear, have good lighting, and have the food as the focus of the image. We love when our followers tag us or message us with their photos and we give a fair chance to each user to be featured!"
Have you been approached by restaurants to feature their food?
AnnArbor_Eats: "Yes! We have definitely been asked to feature certain restaurants and food on our account. Our partnerships are a combination of us reaching out to restaurants or them reaching out to us! We have also found that one partnership will often lead to another. For example, we worked with one restaurant and the media director also worked for a different restaurant in Ann Arbor, which allowed us to feature both of his restaurant on our account. Additionally, partnerships have also been recurring. This means that we will eat at a restaurant in exchange for coverage on our account, and they will follow up at a later date asking us to post for them again for either a new promotion or new store opening."
What has been your favorite meal(s) in A2? Did you feature it on AnnArbor_Eats?
AnnArbor_Eats: "We’ve had some pretty incredible meals over the years! If I had to narrow it down, I would say three of our favorite restaurants have got to be Frita Batidos, Bigalora, and Black Pearl. We were treated to incredible meals at all three restaurants, and highlighted our favorite dishes on our account!"
"Each restaurant collab(oration) comes with multiple posts on our feed, and features on our Instagram story as well! The cuisine at each of the three places I mentioned is very different, which makes it hard to narrow it down to just one! If you are ever in the area, you MUST try the burger loaded with all your favorite Cuban-inspired toppings at Frita’s, the egg pizza at Bigalora, and both the shrimp guacamole and scallop entree at Black Pearl. Yum! We also wouldn’t be true Ann Arbor foodies if we didn’t suggest stopping by Zingerman's Delicatessen, as it’s a timeless classic and NEVER disappoints. I’m hungry just thinking about all the amazing food options in Ann Arbor!"
The lighting and angles on your Instagram just make each photo look mouthwatering. Do you spend a lot of time staging the food to get the right picture?
AnnArbor_Eats: "We do put some work into our content to make sure we get that perfect shot! I would say it is definitely a two-man job. If it is a dim lit environment, one of us puts the flashlight on our iPhone while the other shoots from all different angles. We play around with flash and setting as well for each dish, as these both affect the content. However, we are first and foremost human and hungry college students, and are tempted to skip the photos all together and dive into our meals the second they hit the table!"
Did you think you would ever have as many followers as you do?
AnnArbor_Eats: "Nope!! When we took the account over this (past) September it had around 3K followers, and we were able to grow it to over 8.4K followers in less than one year! We are very dedicated to the account, posting multiple times each day and constantly updating the Instagram story."
"Our followers are also very dedicated fans, and are just as passionate as us about the food in Ann Arbor because let’s be honest, who wouldn’t be! We are very excited about the future of our account, and are determined to continue our follower growth at this lightning speed!"
Do you follow other food Instagram accounts? Who?
AnnArbor_Eats: "Of course, there’s too many to count! We are food OBSESSED and love nothing more than to scroll down our feed and see dozens of mouth-watering, must have food pics, especially ones from Ann Arbor and the surrounding area! We think it’s important to support other food accounts, both from Ann Arbor, Detroit, NY, Chicago, and many other foodie areas! We especially like to follow other college students who are indulging in the same field as us!"
Add some flavor to your Instagram by following AnnArbor_Eats for luscious shots of sweets, enticing entrees and other tantalizing treats.
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